When Hormones Aren’t An Option
According to the Nature commentary, about one-third of women globally discontinue hormonal birth control methods within the first year of taking them, often because of side effects.
That was the case for Lenise Sunny Wilson, who attributes severe depression to the birth control pills she had been taking.
It completely changed who I was as a person, said Wilson, 38, of Tucson, Arizona. It messed with my emotions and my mental health so intensely.
Wilson has since stopped taking the pill and, for the most part, she said, has returned to her sunny self.
Some women, including those with certain cancers and heart conditions, cant take hormonal birth control. Erica Twidle, 33, from Gallatin, Tennessee, was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy while pregnant with her daughter, Della. The condition made Twidles heart weak and enlarged, and although she eventually recovered, Twidles doctors told her she shouldnt take hormonal birth control, or get pregnant, ever again. Both would jeopardize her heart.
Twidle, whod had a bad experience with the copper IUD in the past, decided to track her cycle. But nine months after having Della, she was pregnant again. I cried when I found out, she said. I was terrified. I had a child I needed to stay alive for.
Twidle calls herself one of the lucky ones, since her heart stayed strong enough to support pregnancy. But had things taken a turn, Twidle was prepared to get an abortion to stay alive.
How Do I Make The Pill Work Best For Me
Forgetting pills, losing the pack, not refilling your prescription on time these are the main reasons why people might get pregnant when they use the pill. Its good to plan ahead and think about the best way for you to use the pill correctly. Here are some ways to help you remember to take your pills every day:
Use our birth control reminder app or set an alarm on your phone.
Keep your pill pack next to something you use every day .
Keep your pills in your bag so theyre always with you.
Be pill buddies with friends or family members who also take medicine every day, and help each other remember.
Your partner can help remind you.
Do whatever works to help you take your pill on time, all the time. Depending on where you live, you may be able to order and refill your pills online through the Planned Parenthood Direct app.
Things To Keep In Mind When Taking Birth Control Pills
- Keep another form of birth control, like spermicidal foam and condoms, on hand in case you forget to take a pill.
- Carry your pills with you if you don’t always sleep at the same place.
- Take your pill at the same time every day.
- Get your refills soon after you start the last prescription. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Birth control pills are medications. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist you are on the pill if you see them for any reason.
Recommended Reading: Is 20mg Of Melatonin Safe
Are Birth Control Pills Safe To Take If You Are Breastfeeding
Use of birth control pills during lactation has been associated with decreased milk production, decreased infant weight gain, and decreased nitrogen and protein content of milk. The amount of estrogen consumed by an infant whose mother takes a standard dose of birth control pills is considered to be the same as from a lactating woman who is not taking birth control pills, and side effects have not been reported.
Using a progestin-only product is most often recommended during lactation if birth control pills are to be used during this period. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends delaying taking combined estrogen-progestin contraceptives until at least six weeks postpartum, while the World Health Organization recommends delaying the initiation of combined contraceptives until six months.
Dangers And Side Effects
If you get pregnant while taking the minipill, it can cause problems. Youâre more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as in a fallopian tube. You wonât be able to continue with your pregnancy, and you may need surgery to remove the fetus.
Possible side effects of the minipill include:
Don’t Miss: Hormone In The Endocrine System
How Does The Pill Prevent Pregnancy
Birth control pills release hormones just like most other birth control methods. These hormones are chemicals that affect different parts of the body. Most women use a combination birth control pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin. However there are also Progestin-only pills available.
Birth Control Pills work by:
- Making cervical mucus thicker, which prevents sperm from getting to the eggs
- Stopping ovulation, so there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize
More Questions And Answers About Birth Control Pills
What is continuous use with combination birth control pills?
With continuous birth control pill use, you take an active pill every day and never have a period. You might have breakthrough bleeding, especially at first. You may want fewer periods or none at all, especially if you have problem periods. But you may wonder how youâll know if you get pregnant by accident.
If you think you could be, take a pregnancy test. They work even if you’re taking the pill. If the test is positive, stop taking your pills and call your doctor.
Do I have to get permission from my parents to go on the pill if Iâm younger than 18?
It depends where you live. In some states, you can get a prescription without permission. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the laws in your area. A sexual education counselor might be able to give you some ideas about how to bring up the subject with your parents. Even if you decide against that, they can talk to you privately if youâre confused, unsure, or just curious about sexual activity.
How old do I have to be to take the pill?
Thereâs no minimum age once you start to get your period, but some doctors suggest waiting until around 16 to give your body a chance to properly establish its cycle. Itâs a good idea to talk to your doctor, parents, or a counselor to make sure youâre physically and mentally ready, both for the pill and for sex.
Will it make my cycle more regular?
Will the pill make me gain weight?
Will the pill make my breasts larger?
Recommended Reading: How Do I Increase Estrogen
How Do Birth Control Pills Prevent Pregnancy
The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from joining with an egg. When sperm joins with an egg its called fertilization.
The hormones in the pill safelystop ovulation. No ovulation means theres no egg for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy cant happen.
The pills hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. This thicker cervical mucus blocks sperm so it cant swim to an egg kind of like a sticky security guard.
Birth Control Option #: Intrauterine Devices
Intrauterine devices are small devices that are T-shaped made from either copper or plastic inserted into the uterus by a doctor or nurse. Some IUDs release progesterone into the uterus which can make the lining thinner, thus effective against endometriosis and menstrual cramps.
Another type of IUDs release copper into the uterus. The effect of the copper is that it affects the mucus in the cervix, causing a difficult path for sperm to meet the egg. As copper IUDs do not release hormones, they are not used in the treatment of other conditions.
Read Also: Foods That Help With Hormone Imbalance
Who Can Use It
If you are healthy and do not smoke you can keep taking the pill safely for many years.
You should not use this pill if:
- you have had a heart attack, stroke or blood clot in your legs or lungs
- a family member has had a blood clot in their legs or lungs
- you are over 35 and smoke
- you are overweight
- you have migraines
- you use some types of medications or herbal remedies. The nurse or doctor will talk to you about this.
- if you have your leg in plaster or you use a wheelchair.
Low Serotonin & Melatonin
When we think of hormonal health, neurotransmitter hormones like serotonin and melatonin usually dont take center stage. But they play an equally important role in keeping our body balanced as our main sex and thyroid hormones.
Serotonin helps to keep our moods balanced and regulating our appetite. Melatonin is the king of sleep. And without enough of these hormones, youll likely have trouble falling or staying asleep.
These two hormones also work together in the body. A process known as methylation converts serotonin to melatonin in the gut. When serotonin levels are low, youre more likely to also be deficient in melatonin.
Which is, unfortunately, often the case when it comes to hormonal birth control use.
The Pill has been shown to deplete levels of vitamins B12 and B6. Both of these vitamins are important cofactors in the production of serotonin.
Without enough B vitamins, you cant make enough serotonin. And without enough serotonin, you wont have enough melatonin. This leaves you more susceptible to feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
The connection between hormonal birth control and depression is real. And it goes far deeper than The Pills effects on serotonin and melatonin.
One study found that women who used hormonal birth control were 23% more likely to suffer from depression than women who didnt use The Pill.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Take For Low Testosterone
Does Birth Control Help With Cramps And Other Period Symptoms
When Aunt Flo arrives each month, she often brings with her a host of other unwanted guests including painful cramps. You could ride it out with a heating pad, a couple Midol or another common way to stop period pain, or you could say goodbye to severely painful cramps with the help from a little pill.
Because birth control pills help regulate your period by balancing your hormones, the pill can also reduce period pain when cramps are caused by a hormone imbalance. During your menstrual cycle, your uterine lining produces hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help your uterus contract in order to shed the lining.
But too much of these prostaglandins can cause painful cramps, which is often called dysmenorrhea. The combination pill can help balance your hormone levels by reducing the amount of prostaglandins produced. Plus, these kinds of benefits dont go away as you age. Even taking birth control while going through perimenopause can make things easier.
What Causes Birth Control Pill Side Effects
Birth control pills contain hormones. Theyre designed to keep your level of hormones steady throughout your entire cycle. This is what helps prevent ovulation and reduces your chances of pregnancy.
Fluctuations in your hormone levels can cause side effects. These fluctuations occur when you begin taking the pill, when youre late taking a pill, or when you miss a dose.
Most of these side effects will ease after several weeks or months of taking the pill. Tell your doctor if you still experience these health concerns after 3 months of consecutive use. You may need to consider other birth control options.
Recommended Reading: Gynecologist Specializing In Hormone Imbalance
When Does The Pill Start Working
If the pill is started within the first 5 days of a regular period, it will work right away.
If started any other time during a menstrual cycle:
- Do not have sex for 7 days or be sure to use another birth control method for 7 days. If switching from an IUD, do not have sex or use a back-up birth control method for 7 days.
- You do not need to use a back-up method if you switch directly from a non-IUD method to an oral contraceptive pill.
Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Hormonal Breakouts
When Starting On A Contraception For The Very First Time Or Switching From A Non
You can start the pill any time of the month
If starting within 5 days after the start of the period, no need for a backup method .
If it is more than 5 days, a woman can start COCS but a backup method is recommended for the first 7 days of taking pills.
If switching from an IUD, COC can be started immediately.
Also Check: Does The Nexplanon Have Hormones
Whats The Difference Between Progestin And Estrogen In Birth Control Pills
When considering which oral contraceptive is right for you, two medical terms you might come across are progestin and estrogen. These refer to two female sex hormones that are used in birth control products. Outside of their use in contraceptives, estrogen and progesterone are naturally produced in the female body and play key roles in regulating certain body functions in women throughout puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
As two common hormones found in oral contraceptives, understanding the differences between combination pills and progestin-only pills can help you select one that fits your needs and lifestyle. In this article, we will look at the major differences between progestin and estrogen as it relates to birth control, and why the pill is not one size fits all.
What You Need To Know About Progestin
Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone, which is a female hormone found in a womans body. As a naturally occurring hormone, progesterone is released from the ovaries to prepare the body for pregnancy. Progesterone also plays an important role during pregnancy. It contributes to maternal breast tissue growth while also preventing lactation, and prepares the body for labor by strengthening the wall muscles around the pelvic area.
Some common uses for progestin in products outside of contraception include treating abnormal uterine bleeding, severe premenstrual syndrome , and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.
Do progestin products have any adverse side effects? When taking oral contraceptives that contain progestin, some women may experience side effects including ovarian cysts, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and hair thinning.
Other studies analyzing other side effects, such as the impact on sex drive and development of mood disturbances, are limited in terms of evidence and may offer conflicting views.
If youre experiencing any adverse side effects when taking oral contraceptives, make sure to talk to your doctor.
Also Check: Can Dogs Take Human Melatonin
How Does Birth Control Regulate Your Hormones
Around 62% of women aged 20-29, 72% of women aged 30-39 and around 74% of women over 40 use birth control, but how does it affect our hormones? There are different types of birth control options that affect our hormones in different ways, so what are they and what do they do? Read our latest blog post to find out! Link in Bio!
Have you used birth control to regulate your hormones? Let us know in the comments!
Around 62% of women aged 20-29, 72% of women aged 30-39 and around 74% of women over 40 use birth control, but how does it regulate our hormones? There are different types of birth control options that affect our hormones in different ways, so what are they and what do they do? Read this blog post to find out!
How Does It Work
Most birth control pills are “combination pills” containing a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation . Pregnancy can’t happen if a female doesn’t ovulate because there is no egg to be fertilized.
The Pill also works by thickening the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released. The hormones in the Pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus.
Recommended Reading: What Hormone Triggers Weight Loss
Birth Control Option #: Shot
The birth control shot is also known as Depo-Provera and is given at the doctors office around every 12 weeks. The shot only contains the hormone progestin, therefore it is not suitable to be used in the treatment of PCOS. However, the Depo-Provera shot has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of endometriosis and painful menstrual cramps as it can cause the lining of the uterus to become thinner.
Birth Control Options Without Estrogen
Some birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives contain only progestin. Again, because women can respond to hormone fluctuations differently, these options could improve or worsen migraine.
PPPs may not always suppress ovulation, however, and so estrogen fluctuation may occur, which has the potential to trigger migraine, according to the same paper.
Everyone is a little different, says Levitt. Some people will experience a little headache with hormones in general.
There are also non-oral birth control options such as IUDs, the birth control implant, or the monthly shot, all of which contain only progestin, no estrogen.
Also Check: How Can I Boost Testosterone
How Do I Use Birth Control Pills
Combination pills come in a variety of formats. These include monthly packs, which follow 21-, 24-, or 28-day cycles. Extended regimens can follow 91-day cycles. With all these formats, you take one pill each day at the same time of day.
If you start taking your combination pill within 5 days after your period starts, youll be protected against pregnancy right away. If you start at any other time, youll need to take the pills for 7 consecutive days before youre protected. During this time, you should use a barrier method of birth control, such as an external condom.
Progestin-only pills, on the other hand, come in only packs of 28. As with combination pills, you take one pill at the same time every day.
Progestin-only pills tend to work more quickly than combination pills, which means youll be protected against pregnancy after taking 2 consecutive pills within 48 hours. If you dont want to wait the 48 hours to have sex, you should use a barrier method of birth control.
To be fully effective, progestin pills must be taken within the same 3-hour time period every day. If you miss this time window, you should take your pill as soon as you remember and use a different method of contraception, like a condom, for 2 days.
Certain medications may make either type of pill less effective, including: